By: Tebogo Mokwena
Emerging and existing poultry farmers must stick to industry health standards to produce quality chicken, according to poultry farmer and agricultural lecturer Ntombikayise Mndawe. She told Vutivi News that this would also prevent farmers from selling substandard meat which made consumers sick. Mndawe has a couple of agricultural diplomas and a degree and runs Santwe Farms in Mbombela. She worked on two farms for almost three years before getting a job as a lecturer in Animal Production at Ehlanzeni TVET College.
As a result, she has hands-on experience in feeding, disease control, livestock management, sales, and maintaining farms. Mndawe also knows how to raise a chick from day one up to point of sale and to asses whether a chicken is sick. According to Mndawe, it was important for emerging and existing farmers to get a good chicken supplier. “It does not matter how you feed the chicken, if the quality of the chicken is not good, you will not be able to produce quality poultry products,” she said. “Chickens also have to consume clean and drinkable water and be placed in an enclosed building.”
Mndawe said that her experience as a lecturer and interactions with agriculture graduates spurred her to start a mentorship project, Santwe the Agriculturist, for emerging and existing farmers. She started the project in 2019 after she conducted a survey among her graduates and discovered that many of them were not active in the sector. “I started mentoring them for free, and a few came back to tell me that they were able to establish their own farms,” Mndawe said. “I advertised it on Facebook and people started coming and asking for lessons.
“I have trained over 50 people since 2019, and some are currently poultry, goat, and mixed-farming farmers.” She is now working on getting a mini-butchery so that she can supply smaller cuts of poultry to people who cannot afford full chickens. Mndawe supplies her chickens to communities around Mbombela.